Monthly Archives: August 2021

A hot week on the TSW, so we are moving very slowly

On August 20th, we moved back to the Buckhorn lock and paid to be connected to power for the weekend.  It was very hot.  We visited with the boaters who were tied up near us. 

On Sunday morning we left on the second lockdown, and went through Lovesick, Burleigh Falls and Youngs Point.  We tied up in Lakefield at 1:15 under some trees, but it was still very hot.  In the evening we played cards- euchre, skipbo and 5 crowns with our boating neighbours Brad and Debora, who live near Owen Sound.  We fired up the generator to cool the boat down, so we could play inside, as there were many bugs outside. On Monday morning we trekked into town at 7 am to the 24-hour Foodland to pick up a few things.  We left at 9 am locking through Lakefield, followed by Sawer Creek, Douro, Otonabee, Nassau Mills.

Just before the Peterborough Lift lock, we met two American looper boats- Moonshine and First light; they were the first loopers that we had seen in over a week.  With the boarder being closed, I think a lot of loopers have taken the Erie canal rather than coming through Canada.   We followed the Peterborough tour boat into the lift lock.  The ride down was only about 2 minutes.  We continued to follow the tour boat through the swing bridge and Lock 20 Ashburnham.  Once through we tied up for the night at 12:15   We had travelled about 9 miles, and gone through 7 locks.  Far enough on another day of excessive sun and humidity.   We had never stayed at this lock, and it had a nice little park with shade trees which we welcomed. On Tuesday morning we met some Canadian Platinum Loopers who were on their way to Midland, after spending time on the Rideau Canal.  We visited with them and then  left Lock 20 about 9:15 and  went the mile to lock 19, Scotts Mills.  We were through before 10 am, then it was about 40 miles down the Otonabee river and crossing of Rice Lake before we reached Hastings. 

We were tied up by 1:40. In the afternoon we went in search of ice cream, but both stores having ice cream were closed We decided to walk down to the grocery store where we picked up 1.5 L of Kawartha Pralines and cream- It survived the walk back to the boat without completely melting. 

On Wednesday morning at 7 am, I headed over to the Hastings laundromat, to do a few loads, with it being so hot, we are going though a lot of clothes.  On Thursday, Andy was at LCBO when it opened at 10:00 to pick up some cold beer.  We untied and moved to the blue line, so that we could lock through.  There were a couple boats being locked up, so it was around 11:00 before we were through.  We had decided that we were only going as far as Lock 15- lower Healey falls,

as we had heard that the “basin” there was a good place to go swimming.   After going through the flight locks 16 & 17, we arrived at our destination by 2:00.  After tying up on the grey wall we went to the lock station to check-in — we were given creamsicles, because my husband asked where the closest ice cream store was.   We then   donned bathing suits and went into the water. 

My thermometer on the boat was reading 45 as the outside temperature.  Way too hot!  We stayed in the water for about an hour, then went to sit under some shade trees and read our books. 

At 4:00, I found out how Ontario Hydro secures their site for the night, they use a ½ ton truck to pull the bridge into the open position so no one can cross the lock. At 5:30, two other boats joined us at this lock.  The couples were from Montreal, instead of dock tales, we visited while we were all waist deep in water- cooling off in the basin.   Our new boating friends are planning to do the great loop in the next year or two- so they had lots of questions. 

On Friday morning, when we got up it was only 19 C—which was great!  At 7:00 a.m., I watched the first Hydro employee move the bridge back into place, so the workers could cross to the dam. 

In order for boats to get into the lock, the dam staff, have to come back and move the bridge, so that boats can pass through.  We really enjoyed the stop at this lock- we had always passed it by, but will now stop here more frequently, this also had the cleanest bathroom, of all park facilities that I have used this summer. We were through the Healey lock by 9:15 and then it was off to Crowes Bay at 9:50 and Campbellford at 10:20. We were tied up at Old Mill Park in Campbellford by 10:40 having gone 5.2 miles.  There was a bit of a breeze, and it was pleasant, as the day progressed, the temperature rose to about 28.    We took a walk and checked out a couple of stores, we had planned to go to the bakery but there were about 10 people in line outside, so we passed.  We stopped by a food truck, and I got a chicken roti- with extra hot sauce nothing on the menu interested Andy.  On our way back to the boat we ran into our Montreal friends-they had docked on the other wall, and were only stopping for something to eat—they hoped to make it to Frankfort tonight, they left shortly after we had seen them, and waved as they passed us by.

I finished reading my book and then went for a shower, around 5 we walked over to the nearby grocery store for a few items.

On Saturday morning, Andy walked to the Canadian Tire and then to Duoors bakery for some fresh donuts.  I did some interior boat cleaning, and called one of my sisters to check-in.

 Around noon, Brian and Helen arrived, as we had a lunch date with them. 

We went to 52 North, and sat on the patio under a pear tree.  The tree was loaded with pears, and the wasps were swarming around.  Following lunch, we stopped at No frills for more bottled water, and then drove over to world’s finest chocolate outlet to buy some chocolate covered almonds. When we returned to the boat we sat outside and visited some more at a picnic table in the park while eating chocolate almonds.

On Sunday morning before 10 am, another looper boat came and docked in Old Mill Park.  The boat was Serenity II, owned by David and Susan Neilan from Kenora Ontario.  

We had met them back in 2019, when they came to our house in Winnipeg, to ask questions about the great loop.  They are returning to Victoria Harbour where they are keeping their boat for the winter, next year they will be starting the loop from there.   We had a thunderstorm blow through early afternoon with only a little rain, the temperature was still close to 30.      We stayed hunkered down inside with the air conditioning going, but lost power a couple of times, and had to wait for it to come back on.   Around 5:00 we met with Susan, David and Sam for docktails at the picnic table.

We had a great discussion about electrical issues and the best places to stay between here and the Thousand Islands, as David and Susan had visited the islands earlier in the summer.  Andy and I ordered dinner from Ming Star, so we didn’t have to cook.  We will be eating Chinese food for a couple of meals. Another thunderstorm passed through around 10 PM, coupled with more rain.

On Monday morning we walked over to no-frills for some fruit, and then started to make preparations for leaving Campbellford in order to get closer to Lake Ontario, and the Thousand Islands.

Gone back to the TSW

On Thursday, Brian sent a text that he wouldn’t be coming until afternoon.  We let the marina mechanic know that the boat was available to have the pump installed, but because they had seen Brian’s truck at his shop, they assumed he was on our boat.  At 11:30, Andy went up to see the mechanics, and learned this, so at about 1:30 we had 3 additional people doing work on the boat. 

The pump got installed, but when the generator was started up it still had a leak.  The pump was removed, and a portion of the old gasket was still adhering to the housing, and causing the leak.  Once this was removed and the coolant refilled the generator was again working.  Brian checked the battery bank connections and then worked on trying to get the RPM and voltage inputs to the new display screens, but had little success.  He returned Friday morning at 8:30 and tried again.  He was able to get some inputs, but they seem to be lots of fluctuation between the two engines.    He did finally put in our MMSI number, and finish the AIS setup.  He then proceeded to push the rat’s nest of wires back in the upper helm, and said he was done.  Andy was not pleased, but we were tired of this marina, and had already decided to leave.  So, by 10:45 we were pulling out of Harbour West, hopefully never to return.  We arrived at the Port Severn lock by noon, and waited for 3 locks before we were able to go through.  We were out by 2:00 and then off to the Chute, which we were through by 3:00.  We then proceeded to Swift Rapids, went through and were tied up to the lock wall by 4:45.  It was a hot day, at the lock there was a bit of a breeze, so it was bearable. 

I saw this sign at the lock- I don’t remember the warning about snakes in the past.

The weather is to cool down over the weekend- looking forward to it.  We left Swift Rapids shortly after 8:00, and were through Couchiching lock by 10:30.  We arrived at the CN Swing bridge at 10:35.  The bridge tender came out and told us that he was waiting for a train—it showed up at 11:05, a long train moving very slow.  The bridge was opened at 11:25, and we went through. Almost an hour wait!  We got out onto Lake Couchiching, and it was quite windy.   We arrived at the Port of Orillia shortly after 1:00.  We were meeting Andy’s cousin, Iain and his wife Teresa there. Iain had been on the boat in 2019 for about a week helping us get through locks.  They texted just after we arrived, so we went to meet them and sign in. 

We learned that on weekends visitors could not park in the marina parking lot or near the beach – as all spaces were reserved for “residents” of Orillia.  You could buy a $50 parking permit, or park elsewhere.  A lady, who was parked told us that too many non -residents were taking up the spots not allowing residents to use the facilities that their taxes were paying for. Definitely not the best way to encourage visitors to the city!  While I did laundry, Andy Teresa and Iain did some re-provisioning. We had a great visit on the sundeck, and had a wonderful supper. 

We played one game of 5 crowns with them after supper and then they had to leave for the 3-hour trip back to St. Mary’s.

On Sunday morning we left Port of Orillia at 8:00, and were off Lake Simcoe by 10:00. 

We then had the 5-lock marathon to do.  For all of the 5 locks we were with 3 pontoon boats and 2 express cruisers.   A tight fit, we were at the back on the starboard side.  Every lock was a very slow rise, we were in the first lock at 10:15 and out of the last one by 1:30.  In 3 ¼ hours we went 3.7 miles- WOW!

We then had a run across the infamous weedy Canal Lake, and a short distance in the narrow Trent canal before reaching Kirkfield lock.  In the Trent canal, we saw depths of less than 4 feet, and at one point we felt a bump.    We went through Kirkfield and were tied up by 2:45.  Andy tried fishing in the evening.

On Monday we left Kirkfield at 7:50, crossed Balsam Lake, and were through the Rosedale lock by 9:40, then it was on the Fenlon Falls and Bobcaygeon.  Going through Sturgeon Lake we came upon a number of small sail boats not sure if it was a Regatta or sailing lessons. 

We arrived at the Buckhorn Lock at 2:45 and tied up.  We read out books and enjoyed the sunshine.  In the evening we visited with some American loopers from Hudson Wisconsin.  They had crossed into Canada on August 9th.  They have been living on their boat for most of the last 5 years. 

On Tuesday morning, we left the lock at 8:00 to move the boat to Buckhorn Yacht harbour, for whatever reason the Port engine would not start, so we limped the ¾ of a mile using on the starboard engine. We were met by one of the staff and another boater who helped us to tie up. In the afternoon, we drove up to Peterborough to do some grocery shopping as well as pick up synthetic oil for the engines.  On returning we were happy to see that our solar panel had been added to the radar arch and the hydraulic steering issue had been diagnosed, and temporarily fixed.  On Wednesday, the solar panel was tied into our electrical system the accumulator tank was installed, and the Port engine starter battery was replaced. We didn’t want to be in the way, so jumped into the car and drove the 90 KM to Bancroft.  We went out to lunch with Brian and Helen, and had a good visit.  After leaving their place we drove over to visit Brian and Muriel and visited them for over an hour.  I was given pocket books from both Helen and Muriel, so I have lots to read over the next month. We went back to Buckhorn Yacht Harbour, with a wine stop at the LBCO.

On Thursday, Andy secured the accumulator tank with a strap and some tie wraps, so that it wouldn’t move in the forward bilge while we are moving.

We went to Foodland to pick up a couple of items t hat we missed getting the other day.   For lunch, we went to Main Street Landing in Buckhorn, where we met Glenn Cavers, had a good visit with him. When we got back to the marina, we moved the boat and filled up with water and diesel.  We then took a road trip to Bobcaygeon, for the purpose of doing  a load of laundry, when in fact I really wanted was to go to Kawartha Dairies for ice cream, and to the bank to take out some cash.  We had put the AC on in the boat, so when we got back it was very pleasant, even though it was hot and humid outside. Our plan is to continue down the TSW and out to the Thousand Islands, with a potential trip to Long Sault to see our friends Wayne and Roxanne. That’s provided our charging system behaves.

Still Moving, but more issues in Paradise

We left at 9:15 and headed North west out of Britt.  We went through Cunningham’s channel as well as Roger’s gut; 2 very narrow passages.  We headed north along the west side of Dokis island, as far up as Eastern outlet.  We travelled up the Pickerel River about ½ mile and anchored a couple of times, but our anchor was dragging on shear rock, so we moved to another spot near Bowens Bay, but again it wouldn’t catch.  We ended up anchoring in a small bay with rocks all around us. 

Andy took the dinghy out and tied a rope from our stern to a rock on shore. 

  Our version of Mediterranean tying, as there were no trees.

This kept us from swinging into the rocks on our starboard side.  The wind blew gently most of the afternoon.  In the late afternoon, Andy caught his first fish for 2021, which was a Bass.  We had a pleasant night with no crashing on the rocks.

As the winds were to increase, as well as rain in the forecast, we wanted to leave the anchorage early, and left just after 7:00.    We travelled 6.5 miles, going through Dore’s Run, there were a couple places where there was some choppy water.  We arrived at our new anchorage in the Outer Fox islands at 8:20, which was very sheltered. 

We could see the waves crashing on the rocks to the south. 

  We did swing around a fair bit, and had several fishing run-abouts passed by, and the rain did fall.  It was a cool day, we both changed into sweats, and I added another blanket to our bed.

In the morning, Andy couldn’t get the VHF radio to work, so he fired up the generator at about 6:30 to ensure everything was fully charged.  At 7:45 the generator stopped because of high temperature.  Andy determined that the seawater circulating pump was defective. By the time we had cleaned up the mess it was after 10:00.  With charging issues and no generator, our travels towards Killarney could no longer happen.  We called Britt, to see if we could come back there for repairs.  They had space, so we travelled back the 19.6 miles to Britt, and arrived at 2:45.  We had forgotten that Monday was a civic holiday so no one could assess our problem until Tuesday. So we went for ice cream– you can never have enough Kawartha!

On Monday it was windy, I spent some time washing and waxing a portion of the bow.  I may have found a simple shade solution for our sundeck, we have been thinking about adding a hard top or canvas for the past couple of years. This boat had a piece of canvas that they rolled out and propped up as required. It may be just the thing that we need for those very hot days.

Here’s another option that I saw:

The marina filled up with at least 4 other boats that had mechanical issues.  We also saw one small runabout towed in that had hit rocks and was taking on water.  Our issues weren’t as bad as his, but sometime during the night our shore power cord was disconnected from the pedestal, maybe someone tripped over it or the wind- who knows.  In the morning our battery bank was almost completely discharged. Andy plugged us back in around 7:00, and charging started.  At 8:10, the mechanic from Wright’s came onto our boat, with Andy’s help, he was able to remove the generator water pump.  The service manager made some calls and was able to find a replacement.

It will be shipped to Hindson’s marina in Penatang for us to pick up next week while we are at Harbour West.  We spent the remainder of the day cleaning and sorting inside the boat. Andy finally cooked up the bass for lunch, it was very delicious, wish he had caught a dozen more.  In the afternoon we installed a new 12V light fixture in the aft cabin, replacing a fixture with old bulbs that are no longer made.  This will be a great improvement. 

We walked over to Ice cream on the rocks to get burgers for supper, I also had a sampling of Kawartha’s death by chocolate.

On our return we went to visit the crew on Mayhem, another boat with engine issues sitting here in Britt.  They are in the process of moving the boat from Gore Bay to Toronto.  The owner is a retired military person, and in talking he and Andy found some people that they both knew in the construction business.  They are waiting at least one more day for parts before they can get going.  We showed them some of the anchorages, between here and Port Severn.

We left Wednesday morning at 6:45, following another boat Freshwater Pearl, that was having engine issues, and only had one that was working.  We ran about 5 miles offshore out in the Bay, by-passing the Norgate rocks and the Hangdog reef. 

There was a bit of wind but not too bad.  We veered off into Pointe au Baril, as the Freshwater Pearl continued out in the Bay.  We arrived at Hopewell Bay, at 10:30, having gone about 31 miles.   There were only 4 other boats in the bay, by nightfall this had increased to a dozen,

we were very sheltered and swung around as the wind changed.  Since we have very little confidence in our charging system, we decided that we should likely get power for the night.  We left the anchorage at 10:00, and travelled 49 miles back to Henry’s.   I saw this moose, made of wood in someone’s yard along the way– pretty realistic.

We arrived at 2:00, the place was hopping with the late lunch crowd, and there was over an hour wait.   We put our names for dinner, and got a table around 6:30.  Instead of each of us getting the individual pickerel dinner, which was fries and 3 pieces of fish, we opted for a 4-piece dinner, which we shared along with a salad.  We also asked for pan-fried fish rather than deep-fried—it was amazing.

Once we were back on the boat, Ted the owner of Henry’s dropped by with a complimentary bottle of wine, for frequent visitors, as we had been there 10 days previous.

On Friday we left Henry’s at 8:45. We had a great visit with dock mates; Robert and Ivie from Midnight Sun, they are gold loopers , who have also circumvented Lake Superior twice. We got some good advice from them.  We travelled around 40 miles down the channels and around Beausoleil island, to reach Victoria Harbour by 1:45.  As it turned out –August 6th was the day we completed the loop 5 years ago, right here at Victoria Harbour.  Where has the time gone?

Andy called Hindson’s marina in Penatang, to find out if our water pump had arrived, he was told the pump was coming from BC and the gasket from Edmonton, and neither had arrived yet.  We will check back with them once we are at Harbour West.  We don’t want to be leaving Georgian Bay without a working generator.

 I walked into town to the Laundromat and did a couple of loads of clothes, while Andy walked to the Foodland for a few supplies.  I was back by 4:00 and we sat and visited with Jamie, Jill and Jake on the docks- we had met them on several of our previous stops at Queen’s Cove.  At about 5:45 the skies opened and we got drenched.

We met Jaimie, an engineer that Andy had worked with over 10 years ago and her partner Jay at Queen’s Quay for supper and drinks. 

We had a good visit, they shared the details of their kayak trip around Philip Edward Island and other adventures. 

We had last seen Jaimie here at Queen’s Cove back in 2016. Once they left at about 8:30, we played some cards and then I went to bed.  We had left many of the windows open, as it was very humid.  At 11:30, we were awoken to pouring rain, and had to get up to close windows.

On Saturday, we did some reading, and then went to the Village Mercantile hardware store for lunch.  On our way back to the boat we stopped at Foodland and picked up a few more groceries.  I’ve included a picture of my tomato plant, as I believe that I may get to taste the first ripe ones later this week.

We spent the afternoon doing some cleaning and visiting with other dockmates. We ordered 2 medium Pizzas for supper.

On Sunday we left Queen’s Cove at 11:40 and headed for Penatang.  We arrived shortly after 1:00, and plugged in.  We had gone a total of 11 miles.  We didn’t have to cook, as there was still plenty of Pizza for lunch and supper.   We spent part of the afternoon waxing the upper helm.  I finished up by scrubbing the upper helm floor. 

On Monday, Brian came by the boat shortly after 9:15, and we went over our list of issues.  He decided to try and figure out our charging issues first, and worked on this item until late afternoon.  He then started on some of the Garmin upgrades.  He pulled our lower helm apart, there were wires everywhere.

Progress was slow.  It was a hot humid day.  I went to check on the swallows that were here on our last visit, but it appears that the nest is empty- so the birds must have grown up and flown away.

We had a light rain through the night, which didn’t really help with the humidity.   We had additional downpours three times throughout the afternoon. Brian returned on Tuesday at 10:00, he did a load test on our battery bank, and found that many of the batteries in the Port bank, were not holding a charge.  Another contributing factor to our on-going charging issues.  Andy went up to the on-site mechanics to find out if they had batteries in stock—of course they didn’t.  They called around and found 2, but they wouldn’t be delivered until next Monday.  Batteries should be a staple just like bread.  Andy touched base with another boater that we had met earlier this summer, who boats out of this marina.  He called around and found us 6 in a couple of different locations.  Andy went up to see the on-site mechanics, they too had found us a set of six, and would send someone to the boat in the afternoon, to remove the defective ones, so that the core credit could be applied to the sale.

 Brian continued with the setup of the engine inputs.

  He did not finish, but will not be able to return until Thursday.  We also got the news that our generator pump had arrived at Hindson’s, but not the gasket.   Andy will check with them again tomorrow.  With all these unexpected repairs, I know where our pension checks will be going this month!  It is what it is.   Someone else thinks the same as us, because I saw it as a boat name.

  It was another unsettled night with lots of dark clouds around us.

On Wednesday morning, we changed slips, as the people whose slip we have been in are expected back today.  The new slip has some great bonuses- it is closest to the office—so much better WIFI and proximity to the showers. The technician came with the batteries shortly after 10:00, and all were installed by 11:00. 

The water pump and hopefully the gasket will be picked up later this afternoon and installed.   We have our fingers crossed that Brian will return tomorrow, finish the upgrades and allow us to get to Port Severn.

  We’ve been on the water for just over a month, but have been relying on marina’s as our charging issues have reduced our confidence in anchoring out for more than a day or two.  Once we get back to the TSW, we tend to tie up to lock walls, so our days with shore power will be minimal.